Friday, April 25, 2008

Dark Knight Poster: Shades of the WTC?

I found this official Dark Knight poster on The Beat, and I agree with one of the comments that it brings back memories of 911.

1. Skyscraper with plane-sized hole in it in flames? Check.

2. Debris falling from building? Check.

3. Smoke pouring from top of said building? Check.

But hey, at least Gotham has Batman, right?

And best of all: no tasteless exploitation of Heath Ledger!

(it should be noted, however, that as a native New Yorker, the emergency break pulled on my subway train by a passenger with a bad case of sciatica brings back memories of 911)


  1. Hmm ... I actually hadn't made that connection. But, I'm in San Diego, so geographic sensibilities may be coming into play there, too.

  2. Honestly, all these things that invoke a rememberance of 9/11? I never see it. The only time those things make me think of 9/11 is when someone says "Oh my gosh, that reminds me of 9/11!" And this is coming from a Native NYer who was not only there that day, but spent 2 weeks digging in the hole before emergency services kicked us out. Guess I'm just able to disassociate 9/11 from everything else.

  3. I think part of it is being a New Yorker during 911, and part of it is just me being sensitive to symbolism in pop-culture in general.

    A question to comes to mind is,

    is it ok to evoke an allusion to 911 in a piece of art? does it necessarily have to be tasteless?

    If the Joker in Dark Knight is indeed terrorizing the city, and bombing buildings and whatnot, is there a very basic 911 metaphor there? and if it is -- should it or should it not be okay? is it off-limits for science-fiction/fantasy narratives? or is it silly and restrictive of us to take it off the table?

    Haven't there been plenty of scenes in comics in the years after 911 that have been of big skyscrapers being hit by things -- whether it's the Negative Zone or a superhero Hulk has thrown in the air?

    I don't have a problem with this Dark Knight poster per se -- though I think it looks a little photoshoppy. whatever happened to the classic posters of yore that were composed whole-cloth rather than pasted together from a bunch of film stills?

  4. is it ok to evoke an allusion to 911 in a piece of art? does it necessarily have to be tasteless?

    Depends if that's the intent. "Cloverfield," for example, seemed to be going for that vibe during the initial assault by the creature. But I didn't get the feeling it was exploitative or tasteless; perhaps a little heavy-handed.

    To use another example with the Joker, Gotham Central had a storyarc featuring him as a sniper, picking off city officials. It struck me as a more "realistic" take on the character, actually -- not a lot of hee-hee, ha-ha, but a whole lot of evil, which made sense, given his role in the Bat-rogues' gallery.

  5. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "People only see what they WANT to see." So if you look at this and see 9/11, that's just a reflection on who YOU are. Not on the poster. Personally when I look at it, I see a 22 ounce serving of bad-ass!

    The text above was said by another fan, and I agree with it completely, even though I think 22 onces is still not enough...

  6. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "People only see what they WANT to see."

    I agree with this to an extent, but I've also seen this idea used to justify things that truly are tasteless and offensive.

  7. is it ok to evoke an allusion to 911 in a piece of art? does it necessarily have to be tasteless?

    Was what I was going to say. Yes, Cloverfield was the 9-11 monster, just as Gozilla is the nuclear bomb monster. & positing the Joker as a crazy, demented terrorist? Okay, I'll bite. I think, go for it. I think, just because it has super-heroes in it doesn't mean it can't be ABOUT something, can't ALLUDE to something, can't be ART. It sure can!

  8. Is it really a plane sized hole? It looks more like a Batman-logo shaped fire to me.

    I guess the 9/11 thing is there, but at this point (to be immensely crass), anything where there's a big, damaged building is going to evoke it.

  9. I'm in Chicago but I immediately thought of 911 as well when I saw this. But I also think that we're getting far enough away from 2001 where images like this are more thought provoking than anything else.

  10. As a NY native...I don't see it. But then again I also think that the comparison of urban destruction (specifically artistic interpretations of flaming buildings, etc etc) to the terrorist attacks of September 11th is unfortunately, a really simplistic view of it. I don't see why there should be ANY sort of connection at all to that.

    If anything, the fact that it looks like a scoop of the building is gone brings the Oklahoma City attack to mind.

  11. I prefer the posters with "Rest In Peace" Head Ledger-Joker.

    But this of Batman is cool for the Batman on fire symbol,

  12. re: Godzilla v. Cloverfield

    1. I don't know if the parallel holds; Godzilla was a direct result of the atomic testing of its' day (and if you haven't seen the original Japanese cut, it's well worth the $20). The Cloverfield monster was meant, I guess, to be some sort of allusion to 9/11.

    2. We cannot ignore the Blue Oyster Cult vote here.

  13. I actually immediately thought of Fight Club when I saw that poster.

    9/11 hit me a little differently, though...I live about 5 miles from the Pentagon.

    Also, first time commenting...I've been reading for a year and a half, and Valerie, I think you are absolutely fabulous.

  14. Anonymous2:54 AM

    I think any disaster set in New York is going to evoke 9-11. It's kind of unavoidable. So I give this kind of thing a pretty wide margin. Unless it's really blatant and tasteless I don't get worked up over it. Buildings have been getting blown up and destroyed in action movies for a loong time. I don't expect that to change.

  15. Anonymous10:49 AM

    Well, evoking images of 9/11 works wonders for politicians...why not advertising?

    I'm looking forward to the day when we can, as a society, NOT have a knee-jerk 9/11 reaction to everything under the sun. I understand that New Yorkers--and I mean REAL NYC-New Yorkers--are going to be scarred by the attack for a long time to come. I would be too!

    ...but people in places like Muncie or Kansas City or Omaha? TERRORISTS DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR CITY. Get OVER it. There is no reason why those places get similar money for "homeland security" as NEW YORK WE WERE ACTUALLY FREAKING ATTACKED CITY, or even for all this paranoia that's still rampant seven years later.

    That said...I hate when superhero comics touch on 9/11 at all. That would NEVER have happened in the major superhero universes. You're telling me that SHIELD or CHECKMATE or THE AUTHORITY or someone wouldn't have caught on and stopped it? If Batman WERE real he'd have had the Bat-Family on the planes and they all would have landed safely.

    Sorry if I ranted a bit there...I think it's a cool poster.

  16. I think sometimes we just tend to look for symbolism where sometimes there just isn't any to be found. It's how the human mind works, always connecting things to previous experiences in order to make sense of them.

  17. That poster makes me think of 1970s Larry Cohen schlok like Q The Winged Serpent - which is a good thing.

    9/11? If you're looking for it, sure. But you can say that about a lot of things - it's not like they're having superheroes save the WTC or something. Now that would be tasteless, but thankfully I've yet to see anything stoop that low.

  18. So I guess Godzilla from the 70s and 80s was offensive to 9/11.

    As a NYer who was there this hypersensitivity needs to end.

    Burning buildings = Anarchy

    This image has been evoked pre 9/11 and buildings were destroyed in movies for decades. Its a been silly to cry 9/11 now.

  19. Skyscrapers have been collateral damage in comic book battles for 70 years. I guess it's unavoidable that people are going to see 9/11 in this poster, especially in NYC. Ironically, the 9/11 events were like something right out science fiction. Anyway, I think this poster could have been exactly the same, had there never been a 9/11.

  20. That would NEVER have happened in the major superhero universes

    The many corpses at the bottom of Genosha's floor would disagree with you. As would those from that country Ultron destroyed.

  21. Anonymous4:58 PM

    "The many corpses at the bottom of Genosha's floor would disagree with you. As would those from that country Ultron destroyed."

    ...both examples having been destroyed by robots, not normal schmuck terrorists that slipped through the cracks of the most massive intelligence failure of the modern age....

    Seriously. Nick Fury or Amanda Waller wouldn't have squashed al-Qaeda circa '91? Heck, they'd have used the Gulf War as cover and done so with a mere penstroke.

  22. I don't think that evokes 9/11; its a burning building. We've had plenty of those before 9/11, and plenty after. If anything, it reminds me immediately of Fight Club.

    Nor do I think it is tasteless in any way to use Heath Ledger's image in any promotional material. He put his heart and soul into his work, and to diminish that is to disrespect him; its not exploitive.